Tories report Smith for elections breach

THE CONSERVATIVES have accused Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of breaching election rules today by making a major anti-terrorism announcement during the run-up to the May 1 local polls.

Graham Dines

THE CONSERVATIVES have accused Home Secretary Jacqui Smith of breaching election rules today by making a major anti-terrorism announcement during the run-up to the May 1 local polls.

Ms Smith had announced 300 new police officers, community support officers and back-room staff will be moved to new duties combating radicalisation during a period of purdah which ministers and government departments are supposed to observe in the weeks before a vote.

The system was designed to prevent the party which is in power from having an unfair advantage during an election campaign, but the Tories believe the anti-terrorism measure breaks that rule

Conservative shadow communities and local government secretary Eric Pickles - the MP for Brentwood in Essex - has reported Ms Smith for a breach of Whitehall election rules.

A Tory spokesman said: “The announcement breaks both the convention and official rules that official Civil Service resources should not be used to attempt to influence elections in the three weeks up to elections.”

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